Big Piney to drill new water well

Only one of 10 town wells works


BIG PINEY – With bad water and old wells on hand, the Big Piney Town Council approved a resolution at its Nov. 21 meeting to submit a state grant application to drill and develop a brand new potable water well.

Mayor Michelle Hymas said the town needs a new well quickly to replace existing Well No. 1, which as the town’s oldest has collapsed and is not worth fixing.

The town would apply for a Wyoming Water Development Commission grant; the groundwater exploration grant application was due the next day and the council reviewed the draft that night as well as unanimously approved the resolution.

Councilmembers present were Sherri Redden, Scott Scherbel, Aimee Davison and Hymas, with her seat vacant after she took over for departed mayor Ben Jenkins. The council approved appointing Tyler Maxfield to a two-year term.

Resolution 2017-02 states that Big Piney has six wells to meet the community’s demands for potable water but one of those wells, Well No. 10, is so run down that its casings can’t be repaired.

“(It) is no longer capable of producing potable water needed to meet summer demands,” the resolution says.

The five remaining wells are not capable of meeting “peak month water demands and would likely be unable to meet average daily demands in the event of a well or pump failure at any one of the wells,” it continues.

Town water/sewer manager Joe Dankelman not that Big Piney really only has four water wells – No. 1, 6, 9 and 10 “with No. 8 disconnected.”

“We have one – No. 10,” Hymas said. “Number 1 is offline; it collapsed; we have to plug and abandon it; No. 6 is not great water and No. 9 is offline. It’s nonpotable – we could sell it to put out a fire. We should totally disconnect it from the system.”

She continued, “Well No. 8 actually works; No. 3 pumps clay, but it works. In reality, the entire town is running off one well.”

The town had a couple options – one costing the town about $100,000 of the $208,000 total for the new well to go into the same aquifer as No. 10, according to Hymas. The second cheaper option at around $65,000 for the town would be to drill in another aquifer that serves No. 6.

“I feel like we need to take it right down to the same one as No. 10,” she said.

Well No. 10 cost $267,095 with changes to drill “and if we get the grant the new well would be close to $100,000 for the town” from its general fund, she said. The timeline would have it operating by June.

A new well was not the council’s only water woe.

Leaking manholes continue in the sewer system’s transmission line to the Marbleton water-treatment plant.

“We’re past the liability period now,” said engineering consultant Todd Hurd of Forsgren Associates. “We’d have to go back to Eiden (Construction that installed it).”

He said about $250,000 is left from the State Land Investments Board’s grant for the sewer project and it will go back to the state, “unless we use it on this project. I asked if we could reallocate it … or the money goes back to the state.”

SLIB is willing to “leave it open” for a year – the grant pays 44 percent of costs and Big Piney, 56 percent, Hurd said.

One option is to spray 14 manholes from the inside but they must be “bone dry,” warm, empty and clean. Hurd said the cost is $250 per vertical foot and for 10 feet in each manhole, about $35,000 total. Big Piney’s 56 percent at about $19,600 could come from its “sewer repairs” line item, Hymas noted. “So we have it.”

In other Big Piney news:

  • Ron Gordon talked about his proven system to save the town’s 35 or so mature poplar trees infested with gall mites for about $10,000 or an average of $325 each. He also advised the council to apply for a Tree City USA grant to treat private trees.

“We could talk about it for the next budget season,” Hymas said. Parks/ streets employee Kara Losik said she would look into the Tree City USA grant.

  • Employee Darren Davison introduced Megan Smith as Big Piney Recreation Center’s new office manager.
  • Hymas reported that the Sublette Economic Resource Council, once supported by Pinedale, Marbleton and Big Piney, dissolved on Nov. 7 and sent the town a check for $1,702.67 – “a portion of what we have put in.” Scherbel joked, “At least we got something out of SERC.”



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